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Home > Plant Care
Light is the most important factor when growing aquarium plants. Without it, your plants simply won't be able to grow. Deciding how much light you need over your aquarium depends on a number of factors.... the plants you would like to grow, how fast you would like them to grow, whether or not you're injecting CO2 into your aquarium, and how much time your are prepared to dedicate to maintaining your plants.
Some plants have higher light demands, others have low demands. Often, the more light demanded, the harder the plant is to grow. Such as Glossostigma Elantinoides, this plant requires very high light intensities to achieve a lush green carpet and can be difficult to grow otherwise. Higher light often requires more maintenance too, as your plants will be growing faster leading to increased pruning, fertilization, CO2 demands and water changes.
It is all to easy to go overboard with your lighting levels. With to much light nuisance algae can be caused. This often leads many hobbyists to encounter problems for many years, and can lead some to quit the hobby altogether.
If you are just starting out, it is easier to opt for a low light aquarium. Your plants will grow slower, but it is much easier to grow healthy plants. Fortunately, most plants will grow under lower lighting, so we always mark the ones that need higher lighting. Lower lighting means less CO2 required and less fertilization. There is also less risk of an algae outbreak!
Getting the lighting period correct is important in prevention of algae. If your lighting period is too long then you could be asking for algae! It's worth putting your lights on a timer to ensure your plants are getting the same amount of light each day.
The colour of light should be chosen on what looks appealing to the aquarist when viewing the aquarium. The colour of light is measured using the Kelvin rating. Roughly speaking, cool colours are rated over 5000k, and warmer colours are rating below. Daylight is 6500K, which is what many prefer for the planted aquarium. Plants are not overly fussed about the colour of your light in order to grow. It is more important to choose a colour that shows off the natural colour of your plants best, and often comes down to personal taste. Anywhere between 6000K to 8000K provides a pleasant colour output in planted aquariums and will get the best out of your plants.
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